Have your say on the proposed new housing service for Kingston
Kingston Council is asking for views on its ambitious plans for a new housing service which will help meet the increasing demand for council housing and improve the service currently provided.
Tenants and leaseholders will receive a consultation questionnaire through the post asking for their views on how the council can make it easier to report issues such as repairs and to ask questions about rent payments. Currently less than 1% of repairs are reported online and the website and reporting tools have been identified as areas for improvement. The council will still be the landlord under the new service, which is designed to make day-to-day interaction easier.
The consultation will run from 24 November 2017 - 23 February 2018 and is the start of a range of activities planned to seek the opinions of current tenants and leaseholders as well as those who might seek housing support now or in the future. Discussion groups and stakeholder interviews will be held between now and the end of February to ensure that the council can hear more about the needs of younger and older people and those living with mental ill-health.
Cllr Cathy Roberts, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Housing at Kingston Council, said:
“Whilst the standard and the management of council housing in Kingston has improved significantly over the last few years, there’s more to do. We want to hear your views to shape the future direction of our housing service. It's important tenants and leaseholders have their say so that we understand what works best for them.”
“The council has already invested £44.5m to improve more than 3,000 homes through the Better Homes Programme and we want to build on this good work. We want to provide a better service that is easier to access, costs less, supports those who need it and invests in improvements and new homes.”
One of the partners being considered to deliver these key services is RHP, which is an award-winning, charitable social business that owns and manages over 10,000 properties in Richmond and other local boroughs including Kingston.
For any Kingston resident who wants to share their views, the survey is available at www.kingstonconversations.co.uk/improving-housing-services or call 020 3934 9690.The results of the research will be published in spring 2018 and will inform the roll out of a new approach to housing services.
There are six areas the council will be focusing on:
- A new core housing offer- for council tenants the proposal is ‘A well maintained, affordable and settled property.’
- Digital by choice - an improved 24/7 digital offer for council tenants and leaseholders, but by choice not compulsion.
- Supporting those who need it- targeted services for more vulnerable council tenants.
- A clearer deal for council tenants and leaseholders - being upfront about what the council does and doesn’t do and what’s expected of tenants and leaseholders.
- Reducing paperwork- saving money on the council’s costs so more can be spent on the things that matter.
- Investing in council housing- building more desperately needed new council housing and investing in improving current housing.
The demand for social social housing is increasing year on year. In the last year alone, over 2,500 households approached the council for help with housing and there were only 295 permanent social housing lettings in 2016/17. Improving the efficiency of housing services is just one of the ways that RBK is seeking to reduce costs and direct funding into frontline services.